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The original heatsink found in the majority of Xbox 360 consoles today (Source: AnandTech)

The new GPU heatsink with a heatpipe to a 'daughter' heatsink (Source: Xbox-Scene)
Microsoft does not confirm nor deny new Xbox 360 hardware cooling

Following yesterday’s discovery of new cooling measures inside Xbox 360 consoles, questions to Microsoft regarding its hardware changes were met with intentionally vague responses.

“Regularly updating console components is commonplace within the industry and is a standard aspect of the business for a variety of reasons including cost reduction, improved manufacturability and improved performance,” a spokesperson said to GameDaily. “We do not provide details on these updates."

Users who received repaired consoles back have been reporting a revised heatsink with a heatpipe extension to help better cool the GPU.

It is believed that improved cooling is an effort to address widespread reports of Xbox 360 hardware failures. Microsoft has always remained guarded on the topic of the reliability of its Xbox 360 console, including possible revisions to address quality issues.

When asked if the Xbox 360 Elite would include any additional measure to improve reliability, Microsoft employees said on multiple occasions that the latest version of the console, HDMI output aside) would be identical to the Premium and Core packages.

However, after disassembling the Xbox 360 Elite, enthusiasts found epoxy surrounding the CPU and GPU chips, leading some to view that as an effort to address issues of warping PCBs. Despite the added epoxy, the Xbox 360 Elite consoles are also prone to the Red Ring of Death hardware failures.



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Evolution of the 360
By cheetah2k on 6/15/2007 4:32:33 AM , Rating: 2
On the surface, this seems to be merely an evolution of the 360 (just like Sony's path to make the PS3 cheaper) and you can assume that by what we are seeing here, Microsoft have "indirectly" admitted that there is indeed an over-heating related issue with the 1st rev of the 360.

However, question remains tho, are we all entitled to an upgrade?





RE: Evolution of the 360
By borgia on 6/15/2007 4:56:44 AM , Rating: 3
I guess the entitlement comes when your console breaks...I mean ain't going to make it any faster....


RE: Evolution of the 360
By FNG on 6/15/2007 8:17:19 AM , Rating: 3
Hence the reason why the will admit no issues exist. If they did, some gaming lawyer would put together a class action lawsuit to get himself and his partners rich while earning "you" a six week long upgrade of the heat sinks in your XBox 360.


RE: Evolution of the 360
By Samus on 6/15/2007 8:53:35 AM , Rating: 1
That's like saying if a car company improved a car you bought one year later, you're entitled to the improvements they made on the newer model on your old model.

Nothing wrong with the old cooling design. Red rings of death are completely random, no rhyme or reason...


RE: Evolution of the 360
By MrTeal on 6/15/2007 9:33:47 AM , Rating: 5
No, right now they're treating it like a standard console update, which all consoles have. However, most consoles change things to lower costs and integrate components. The new heatsinks are obviously more expensive, going from a simple anodized extrusion to a heatpipe design. They wouldn't increase the cost of the console just for fun, it must be done to address some problem with the board.

To use your car analogy, it'd be more like if a company didn't install a fan in front of the radiator. Lots of customers starting having issues with overheating in traffic, and many had to be sent in for repairs. Suddenly, new cars start showing up with fans, as do the repaired cars. People with fanless motors are left to hope theirs doesn't overheat and crack the head outside of the warrenty period.

Now, is adding the fan an improvement, or does it correct a design flaw? Chances are in the auto industry, you'd see a recall for the kinds of problems MS has been having.


RE: Evolution of the 360
By mars777 on 6/15/2007 1:00:28 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Chances are in the auto industry, you'd see a recall for the kinds of problems MS has been having


Well if somebody remembers the first Audi TT problems when driving way over 200 km/h...

They recalled all owners for the upgrade and it was all gratis, since tha cars had security problems when driving too fast.

Driving too fast is paragonable to overusing your Xbox...


RE: Evolution of the 360
By deeznuts on 6/15/2007 1:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
People who aren't overusing their 360 are reporting RROD. The RROD is not confined to heavy users.

I am a lawyer, this statement by MS was prepared by a lawyer. Obviously. There should be no discussion about that.


RE: Evolution of the 360
By Puddleglum on 6/15/2007 2:55:14 PM , Rating: 2
"Paragonable"?

Microsoft's rep. said that this was an upgrade to a component which isn't going to actually change the capabilities of the machine.

It's just a long-awaited move by Microsoft, and the rep. certainly didn't say that there would be a recall.

RRoD is simply indicating a console failure, not that there is one specific thing causing all of them. If the machines had a safety problem, you'd see a recall.


RE: Evolution of the 360
By bob4432 on 6/16/2007 1:02:33 PM , Rating: 2
it most certainly may change the machines capabilities to actually work.

if you read enough about the RRoD there is one reason that sticks out more than any other and that is dealing w/ the gpu heatsink.

why should it matter if it is a safetly problem or a design problem - there is something wrong so they should fix it, plain and simple.


RE: Evolution of the 360
By mindless1 on 6/17/2007 2:36:02 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, they "should" fix it to be fair to their customers but that's not how big business operates. They carefully calculate which is a greater financial loss, admitting a problem and paying the inherant costs in fixing it, or alienating a few existing customers and future customers.

Also look at their track record, did they ever fix Win9x's propensity to bluescreen or did you have to buy win2k/xp to solve it? That's not MS hating, that's the reality of big business vs consumers.


RE: Evolution of the 360
By theapparition on 6/18/2007 7:57:39 AM , Rating: 2
You don't know the auto industry too well.

Using your analogy, the automakers would then do a cost-beneift analysis, to determine the financial impact of the recall, then, estimate losses from warranty repairs. If it is more feasible to repair the faulty design, then issue a recall, then you can bet that's the path they will take.

The only exception is safety related issues, for which future lawsuits, government intervention and bad PR could be signifigant.

Since the Xbox is not catching fire and burning houses down, it is not a safety related issue. Microsoft's bean-counters have determined it is (for the time being) more cost effective to repair seemingly random failures, than issue a mass recall.

Keep in mind, I don't necessarily agree with the above, but that's the way it happens.


RE: Evolution of the 360
By mles1551 on 6/15/2007 1:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
They don't want to admit this new setup cools better and reduces failures b/c then they would be put into the postition of offering the upgrade to all 360 owners. These costs would further increase their losses.
This isn't the only thing they need to do to improve the failure rate on the 360, which they yet again will not talk about. Look on Ebay, there are almost as many broken 360s as there are new ones, there is a problem and they need to fix it before owners start jumping off the MS loyalty bandwagon and start criticizing them like PS3 owners criticize Sony.


RE: Evolution of the 360
By hrah20 on 6/15/2007 8:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't belived, there where so many xbox 360s with problems, but my x360 just broke, I bought prince of persia and was playing the first level when the 360 just froze and the image on screen was pixelated , now I turn it on and I can't even get to the blade menu, i think its a shame, I had my xbox360 since mid-november 2006, (just 8 months) and don't even play that much either, SO that idea of playing too much = rrod is wrong, and overheating I don't think it is because I always have a stand fan for my x360, so I don't know what could be the reason for the failure, I already called the service and tried all their suggestions and nothing (they told me , im still on warranty and they are going to fix it ,but im so sad, plus they told me that the repair its going to take 15 days (maybe),I wanted an elite but after what happen ,Im looking in sony's way.


improvement
By lazyinjin on 6/15/2007 7:49:31 AM , Rating: 3
are we complaining about improvement?

the company has chosen to sacrifice some of its financial gains in manufacturing improvements to improve the quality of their product. this helps everyone: users get a more reliable machine and MS gets, hopefully, fewer warranty returns/replacements.




RE: improvement
By iFX on 6/15/07, Rating: 0
RE: improvement
By VIAN on 6/15/2007 11:28:49 AM , Rating: 2
It's about damn time. MS needs to do so much, but I don't think their putting any money out there to fix it. Right away they should have fixed the heat issue, the D-pad issue, and their shoddy storage issue.

After almost two years, they finally put an extra heatsink on it. What is that?! I've never had issues with like this with any console maker. What I do know is that the original XBOX went down the crapper and that this XBOX's hardware has the equivalent of software bugs - it doesn't work right. What bothers me most is that they're not fixing the issue.


RE: improvement
By fic2 on 6/15/2007 1:16:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
this helps everyone: users get a more reliable machine


I don't see how this helps everyone. It only helps those that either buy a new machine or have to send theirs in to get fixed. Doesn't help the original buyer when they have a failure outside the warranty period (or the extension that MS has had to grant).


RE: improvement
By mindless1 on 6/17/2007 2:38:20 PM , Rating: 2
Actually you know what is being complained about, a design that cut one corner too many to reduce manufacturing cost.

As it stands, the improvement may not be a long term solution either, those that had already suffered (the supposed) PCB warping might now merely get another couple years out of it, but ultimately it still fails. Dunno about you but my old gaming consoles didn't die at all, were retired due to OLD age.


By kilkennycat on 6/15/2007 12:01:24 PM , Rating: 3
The fans in the Xbox360 have no lint filters. (And if they had who would clean them ?) Thus the CPU and GPU heatsinks readily clog with lint, fur, dog-hair causing the CPU and or/GPU to overheat. Also since these heat-sinks are jammed right up against the DVD-drive, guess what other critical electro-mechanical component can overheat?

Microsoft in their anti-mod paranoia have provided no user-accessible way to clean out the heatsinks and air-passages within the Xbox360. The Xbox360 CPU heatsink is a high-density design. Those of us familiar with modern PC servicing are very aware of the appearance of the high-density CPU heat-sink after 6 months in a typical user-environment -- clogged up with junk and possibly causing the PC to shut down by tripping the temperature limit set in the PC BIOS. The addition of the extra GPU heat-exchanger in the Xbox360 Elite will have near-zero benefit once the CPU heatsink fills with lint since little or no air will then get to the extra heat-exchanger.

If the CPU and GPU components in the Xbox360 require epoxy to hold the parts in place and the intent is to counter overheating.. that is like a little boy trying to stop a dike leaking with his fingers. The likely source of mechanical interconnect failure with chronic and gross overheating of the CPU and GPU high-density ball-grid arrays -- assuming that the silicon does not fail first, always the most likely reason for the red-ring of death --- is partial-melting of the solder-balls ( they are tiny, with very low thermal mass ) in combination with oxidation/crystallization of the solder in the solder-ball. And epoxy hold-downs will do nothing to prevent this sort of long-term high-resistance failure.

When it comes to hardware-reliability design the Microsoft Xbox360 engineers are total babes in the wood. Maybe now that the 65nm versions of the CPU and GPU will shortly be available, somebody at M$$ might just have the bright idea of commissioning a complete mechanical redesign of the Xbox360 circuit board, ventilation-path and case -- moving the CPU and GPU heatsinks far away from the DVD-drive, providing early-warning thermal-sensing (or airflow-sensing) in critical areas and providing user-access for the necessary cleaning of the internal air-passages and heatsinks.

BTW, moving to 65nm with no change to the mechanical design will be no thermal panacea.. failure due to clogged heat-sinks might take just a little longer......




By mars777 on 6/15/2007 1:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Microsoft in their anti-mod paranoia have provided no user-accessible way to clean out the heatsinks and air-passages within the Xbox360. The Xbox360 CPU heatsink is a high-density design. Those of us familiar with modern PC servicing are very aware of the appearance of the high-density CPU heat-sink after 6 months in a typical user-environment -- clogged up with junk and possibly causing the PC to shut down by tripping the temperature limit set in the PC BIOS. The addition of the extra GPU heat-exchanger in the Xbox360 Elite will have near-zero benefit once the CPU heatsink fills with lint since little or no air will then get to the extra heat-exchanger.


Come on, not everything is so bad...
Anyhow this new cooling design looks more professional (similar somehow to the PS3 design).
Too bad they don't give it as a free upgrade :(


By bkm32 on 6/15/2007 4:05:31 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds very insightful. You should provide MS with some design suggestions. It would be of benefit to all--just try to keep the cost down.


By mindless1 on 6/17/2007 2:47:22 PM , Rating: 2
Put in lint filters and then you have even less airflow. Active cooling is always a tradeoff but I agree with this heat density they needed provide a user-accessible heatsink and airflow path to clean out dust one way or the other (even if from a filter, and provide a 2nd filter at least and use a standard size filter easily sourced later from a 3rd party).

The heat exchanger will still provide some benefit, as even when airways are dust-covered, you still have a larger surface area and through the heatpipe the conduction is inhernantly more one direction than the other.

I agree the epoxy is like a band-aid but the solder is not going to oxidize and crystalize from it, but more likely it will not melt, it will remain solid and when the PCB warps this causes intermittent connection. Another method they might've used (depending on existence of any surface mount parts behind the CPU and GPU) is a slightly over-height array of silicone standoff blocks that keep pressure against the areas that invert from the thermal expansion. That would also be less visible to those checking on what MS did, since they're under the PCB where most people won't be pulling whole PCB out to check the back.

Their design was fine, for a lower heat density. Now the "right' thing to do is stop selling these with current specs and downclock the GPU enough to allow a lower core voltage, which will be a far more long-term solution. They just got greedy on both fronts, trying to get the most power out and doing so as cheaply as possible. I'm sure it worked fine in a lab, but these aren't lab equipment they're stuffed anywhere the owner finds handy and unless there are very clear and detailed instructions about the environmental limits, it is easy to cause overheating.


In other words...
By daftrok on 6/15/2007 4:27:52 AM , Rating: 2
They don't want to come off as liars if the measures they took to improve the system's handling of overheating is ineffective. They are of course trying to improve the console but saying that its improved and that it will have a far less chance of overheating is a gamble. If a handful of people have the "improved" console and it fails, it will blow out of proportion in the media and the integrity of Microsoft will be at risk. In other words yes they are fixing the issues but consumers tend to screw the companies when their products have a few failures so they won't say anything about it.




RE: In other words...
By Haltech on 6/15/2007 4:48:08 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunetly Heat failures arent the only cause of the RROD. Disk drive causes many problems of ring of death as was to mine when I sent it in


RE: In other words...
By bkm32 on 6/15/2007 11:46:14 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone, listen up.

It's a business, not a romantic relationship. Expect lying, cajoling, insults, and slight-of-hand ("magic" for the old folks). This is what it means to have a business relationship with someone. You and I have one with one of the most ruthlessly competitive companies in existence. Please, don't expect anything less.

Look, I enjoy my XBOX1 as much as anyone (I don't sleep with it, that would creep my wife out), but I'm not fooled into thinking that MS loves me for buying their product. They love that I bought their product, but could care less about me once I've purchased it.

As far as the X360 goes, MS wants you to keep on buying their upgraded equipment and accessories, so there's an "appearance of love", but it's not genuine. This "appearance of love" will exist until MS wins. It happened with their software products before. Sony did the same thing after winning the last two console wars.

Where's the love? There was none to begin with. In other words, "this ain't "Show-friends", its "Show-business"!


Boiling Point
By Misty Dingos on 6/15/2007 7:44:26 AM , Rating: 2
Taking a look at the change between the two versions, I wonder if it is even possible to retro-fit the old version to the new version. If that is the case I can see MS stonewalling the customer about 'upgrades'. When you consider that the profit margin on the 360 is minimal to nonexistent it is not in MS's interest to incur the costs of repairing all the old 360s.




RE: Boiling Point
By h0kiez on 6/15/2007 9:15:32 AM , Rating: 3
FTA:
"Users who received repaired consoles back have been reporting a revised heatsink with a heatpipe extension to help better cool the GPU."


Baahh
By brightstar on 6/21/2007 8:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
I've had my 360 since day one, no problems here. I can't even feel heat coming from the vents, but my PS3, I had to buy the Nyko cooler the thing ran so darn hot. I've never had a problem with the PS3, even before the cooler, but no sense in taking chances.




RE: Baahh
By Datalogger on 6/27/2007 12:51:04 AM , Rating: 2
None of the PS3's I have set up for Folding run "hot", but you can feel heat coming out of the vents. This is a good sign as it shows heat is being successfully removed from the electronics. Ever put your hand next to the vent on a PC? Same thing.

After all the issues those intercoolers were proven to cause on 360's I can't believe anyone would put one on a PS3. The PS3 has variable rate fans and you have added a manually operated fan system to it. What happens if you leave it turned down while the PS3's internal fans are on high trying to remove heat? You have effectively added an unneeded bottleneck to the PS3's cooling.

Also is it confirmed that all Elites have this new heatsink? My Elite has been working fine so far, when I purchased it I was hoping it had a 65nm chip. Now that I see that never happened, hopefully it at least has this upgraded heatsink.


Typical
By overlandpark4me on 6/15/2007 2:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft tactics. Stall,stall,deny,fix,"upgrade", and deny.




By Bonrock on 6/15/2007 10:11:04 PM , Rating: 2
From the DailyTech article: "Despite the added epoxy, the Xbox 360 Elite consoles are also prone to the Red Ring of Death hardware failures."

Hey Marcus, care to back up this claim with a reference or any other kind of evidence? I haven't heard anything but a few anecdotal reports of Xbox 360 Elite failures, including one which turned out to be a faker who painted his regular Xbox 360 black and claimed it was an Elite. Saying something is "prone" to failure implies that it fails frequently. If you're going to make such a claim, please back it up.

DailyTech has a lot of good scoops, but you guys are portraying yourself as a legitimate tech news site and it's about time you started acting like one. At a bare minimum, this means citing sources and giving credit for other peoples' images and reports, which rarely seems to happen around here.




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